Page:Dickens - A Child s History of England, 1900.djvu/243

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A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

particularly gay with the Bishop of Ely: praising the strawberries that grew in his garden on Holborn Hill, and asking him to have some gathered that he might eat them at dinner. The Bishop, quite proud of the honor, sent one of his men to fetch some; and the Duke, still very jocular and gay, went out; and the council all said what a very agreeable duke he was! In a little time, however, he came back quite altered—not at all jocular—frowning and fierce—and suddenly said,—

"What do those persons deserve who have compassed my destruction; I being the King's lawful, as well as natural, protector?"

To this strange question, Lord Hastings replied, that they deserved death, whosoever they were.

"Then," said the Duke, "I tell you that they are that sorceress my brother's wife;" meaning the Queen: "and that other sorceress, Jane Shore. Who, by witchcraft, have withered my body, and caused my arm to shrink as I now show you."

He then pulled up his sleeve and showed them his arm, which was shrunken, it is true, but which had been so, as they all very well knew, from the hour of his birth.

Jane Shore, being then the lover of Lord Hastings, as she had formerly been of the late King, that lord knew that he himself was attacked. So, he said, in some confusion: "Certainly, my Lord, if they have done this, they be worthy of punishment."

"If?" said the Duke of Gloucester; "do you talk to me of ifs? I tell you that they have so done, and I will make it good upon thy body, thou traitor!"

With that, he struck the table a great blow with his fist. This was a signal to some of his people outside, to cry "Treason!" They immediately did so, and there was a rush into the chamber of so many armed men that it was filled in a moment.

"First," said the Duke of Gloucester to Lord Hastings, "I arrest thee, traitor! And let him," he added to the armed men who took him, "have a priest at once, for by St. Paul I will not dine until I have seen his head off!"

Lord Hastings was hurried to the green by the Tower chapel, and there beheaded on a log of wood that happened to be lying on the ground. Then, the Duke dined